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Movie Review: Reservoir Dogs

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Reservoir Dogs (for people like me who may not be fully clued in) is Quentin Tarantino’s directorial debut. It follows the story of a heist gone wrong, except we don’t actually see the heist. We see the characters trying to work out what went wrong and we see how they got in that situation.

The characters are a gang of six criminals with aliases, although one of them (Mr. Brown) is only in about two scenes and is played by Quentin Tarantino. The rest are played by Harvey Keitel (Mr. White), Steve Buscemi (Mr. Pink), Tim Roth (Mr. Orange), Michael Madsen (Mr. Blonde), and Eddie Bunker (Mr. Blue). We discover the true name of three or so of them during the course of the film. The actors play their roles well, especially Michael Madsen and Steve Buscemi.

This film features many iconic moments that have been the focus of many a parody, such as the scene with the cop, the chair, and some Stealers Wheel. The slow-mo walk with the beginning of “Little Green Bag” by the George Baker Selection is pretty famous at well. Even if you haven’t seen the film, you’ve probably seen the scene (so to speak). As a side note, the Fun Lovin’ Criminals used sound bites from this film and Pulp Fiction for their song “Scooby Snacks,” a fact that I didn’t know until very recently. This, along with finally recognising how I knew Lawrence Tierney’s voice (The Simpsons) gave me chills when I first saw the film.

I found myself steadily drawn into the film as it went along, caring about the characters and what happened to them. There was one twist I did not see coming, although I’m not the best at picking up that kind of stuff. One thing that struck me when watching this film is that the dialogue is written in a very realistic style. Real people make mistakes when trying to talk about something. Real people raise topics like that mentioned at the very beginning of the film. And that makes them more relatable than those in some of the other films I’ve seen recently.

I tend not to bother finding out who directed a film (this is why the information is never in my reviews; that, and it’s available on the Internet for the curious), as I find thinking along the lines of “I liked X’s last film, so this one should be good,” is a bad idea and potentially misleading as to the film’s quality. I think this for the same reason that saying “I love all your work” to an artist seems like folly (it sounds like a falsehood; there’s generally at least one bad work per artist). The few exceptions to this rule, in my opinion, are Edgar Wright (Scott Pilgrim, Shaun Of The Dead and Hot Fuzz) and Steven Spielberg. One of my favourite films, for instance, was directed by somebody I’d never heard of. The film was The Man From Earth, if you’re curious.

However, I think that Tarantino has maintained a consistent output (based on the films I have seen; your mileage may vary) and so I think I can safely recommend this film. It’s quite violent, but if you liked his later output like Kill Bill or Pulp Fiction (I’ve not seen that yet, but based on this I really want to) then you’ll be sure to like this.

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About Scott Varnham